HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 95
going ships run where the palatial steamboats once floated. Of
course the present is greater and grander than the past, but yet
one cannot keep from sighing for the old days, when there was
real pleasure in traveling and less break-neck haste and hurry.
* , *,
HOUSTON'S FIRST MARKET MAN.
xN TOT long ago I was talking to Colonel Phil Fall and one
or two old-timers, when one of the gentlemen asked me
if I could remember when the first market house was
built. As that famous old house was erected several years before
I was born I denied all remembrance-of its beginning, but
told him that I remembered the man who had the first market
place in Houston and I do, too. He was a Frenchman named
Rouseau. Originally there were two Rouseau brothers. They
had a big tent which was located on Preston Avenue between
Stude's coffee house and Milam Street. Of course, Stude's place
was not there then, but the Rouseau tent was on the lot west
of where it now stands. Market Square was vacant then and
was used as a wagon yard by those who brought country produce
to Houston and by ox wagons from the interior of the state,
which was at that time over on the Brazos, up about Washing-,
ton County and over toward the Trinity. Texas was sparsely
settled, but Houston was then as now its commercial and 'business
The Rouseaus were wide-awake and progressive and their
tented market was profitable. They made too much money, in
fact, for their prosperity attracted fatal attention and one night
when one of the brothers returned to the tent after a temporary
absence he found the other one dead with his throat cut and all
the money in the place gone. Thieves had murdered him, ransacked
the place and had gone, leaving no trace behind them,
and the mystery has never been solved to this day.
The elder brother though doubly stricken by the loss of his
brother and all his money, did not give up, but continued the
business until the city, early in the 40's, erected the old wooden
market house and drove him Oct of business. Then he erected
a one-story frame house on the site of his tent and opened a little
I can remember the old man well by two things. One was his
pretty daughter, named Charlotte, and the other was a large
parrot that swore in French. Charlotte had charge of the store
and was always there as much so as the parrot, which sat upon
its perch near the center of the store. The old man was seldom
seen in the front room, or store proper, but remained nearly all.
the time in the back room, where he could be heard grumbling
and growling. All the boys in town were afraid of him, though
for what reason I am unable to say.
That was 15 or 18 years after his tent experience and he must
have been rather an old man when I first knew him. He was
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed April 25, 2014.